Our Virginia Personal Injury Attorneys Have the Answers You Seek
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How much does it cost to hire a premises liability attorney?
If you were hurt in a slip and fall or other premises liability accident, you may realize that settling your claim against the negligent property or business owner on your own would not be in your best interests. However, you may worry that you cannot afford to hire an experienced premises liability lawyer, especially when you have mounting medical bills and no income while you are off work recovering. Fortunately, most attorneys charge their fees in a contingency fee agreement where you would not owe any fees upfront.
How a Contingency Fee Arrangement Works
Most premises liability lawyers understand how difficult it is for accident victims to pay attorney fees when they are struggling to get the medical treatment they need and charge their fees on a contingency fee basis. Here is how this agreement works:
- No upfront fees. You do not owe any attorney fees at the beginning of your case. Your lawyer would not get paid until your claim is resolved.
- Fees only owed if you win. You will only owe attorney fees if your lawyer settles your case or wins it at a trial. If your case is not successful, you would owe him no fees.
- Fees are a percentage of your settlement. Most premises liability lawyers charge a percentage of the amount you recover in your settlement or at trial as their fees.
- Fees paid from your settlement. When your case is settled, you do not have to write a check to your lawyer for his fees. Instead, he will deduct the amount you owe from your settlement proceeds.
Other Costs You Could Owe
Attorney fees are not the only expense you will incur when filing a claim for compensation following a premises liability accident. Some attorneys will expect you to pay a retainer when you hire them to cover a portion of these costs, while others will pay these expenses for you and deduct them from your settlement. Here are some of the additional costs you may owe:
- Expert witness fees
- Record copying costs
- Civil lawsuit filing fee
- Deposition costs
Your lawyer should explain how he would charge his attorney fees and other costs at your initial consultation with him—which should be at no cost to you. At Tavss Fletcher, we offer a free consultation with a member of our legal team to discuss your legal options, how we can assist you, and the attorney fees and costs you would owe. To schedule yours, call our office or fill out the online form on this page.
Do I need to register my out-of-state custody and child support order in Virginia?
If you obtained a custody and child support order in a divorce or other child custody action in another state and moved to Virginia, your orders can be enforced in Virginia. Our commonwealth has adopted The Uniform Child Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act, which provides that the custody and child support orders entered in another state are recognized by our state courts. However, you need to register your out-of-state orders.
What Is the Benefit of Registering Your Out-of-State Custody and Support Orders?
The benefit of registering your custody and support orders from another state within a Virginia court is that it will be easier for you to enforce the orders if you need to. Once you register your orders, you can file any necessary motions to change the orders or compel your ex-spouse or partner to comply with them in a state court. If you do not register your orders, you would have to file your motions in that state and incur travel costs and miss work to attend required court hearings.
How Do You Register Your Out-of-State Family Law Orders in Virginia?
The process of registering your child custody and support orders from another state is relatively simple. You must follow this procedure:
- File a letter or other document requesting to register your out-of-state orders with the court in the county or city where you reside after you have lived there at least six months.
- File two copies of the order to be registered with an affidavit that there are no modifications of the order. One copy of the order must be a certified copy, which you can obtain for a fee from the court that entered the order.
- Serve notice of the registration of your orders on your ex-spouse or partner. He will have the opportunity to object to your request, and a hearing will be scheduled if he files an objection.
If you need to enforce an order from another state quickly, you can file a petition for expedited enforcement of the order.
Do you have questions about enforcing an out-of-state custody or support order? Do you need to file an action to enforce these orders? Our skilled and compassionate family law lawyers are here to help. Call our Norfolk office to schedule a free consultation to get the answers and legal assistance you need.
How soon after my premises liability accident should I retain a lawyer?
If you want to obtain all the compensation you deserve for your injuries, you should hire an experienced premises liability attorney right away after your accident. Here are four reasons why this is so important.
Reason #1: Preservation of Evidence
It is not easy to prove a property or business owner’s negligence in causing a slip and fall or other type of premises liability accident. Your attorney can conduct a more exhaustive investigation into the cause of your accident soon after it occurred. In addition, he can obtain time-sensitive evidence, such as surveillance videotape that may have recorded your accident or witness statements—before they are lost.
Reason #2: Help You Avoid Mistakes
You probably have never been injured in an accident where you needed to file a claim for compensation with the negligent party’s insurance company. It is easy to make unintentional mistakes that can weaken your case. Here are some common ones that a lawyer can help you avoid:
- Agreeing to give a recorded statement to the insurance company
- Signing the insurance company’s blanket authorization for release of your medical records
- Posting about your accident on social media sites
- Making statements to the insurance adjuster that he can use to deny your claim or try to pay you less than you are owed.
Reason #3: Negotiate Your Settlement
It can be challenging to negotiate your settlement with the insurance company. It is difficult to know how much your claim is really worth. In addition, the insurance company may try to pressure you into accepting a quick settlement for far less than you deserve.
An attorney who has handled many premises liability cases will be able to value your claim accurately. He will also have strategies that he can use in negotiations with the insurance company to defeat their arguments as to why you should receive less than you deserve.
Reason #4: File Your Lawsuit
In Virginia, there is a deadline referred to as the statute of limitations for filing a lawsuit against the negligent party who caused your injuries. If your lawyer cannot settle your claim, he will sue the property owner or business before the time period to do so expires.
Were you or a family member injured in a premises liability accident? Our dedicated and knowledgeable lawyers are here to help. To get started, call our Norfolk office to schedule your free consultation today.
What happens if I was partially at fault in causing my truck accident?
If you were partly to blame for your truck collision, it can have very negative consequences on the value of your claim for compensation for your injuries. This is because Virginia, unlike most other states, follows the contributory negligence doctrine.
How Contributory Negligence Could Affect Your Truck Crash Claim
Virginia follows a very harsh rule when the victim is partially at fault in causing a truck collision. Under the contributory negligence law, a person who is at all negligent in causing an accident is barred from receiving any compensation for your injuries. This is true whether he was 1, 50, or 99 percent to blame.
Don’t Trust the Insurance Company If They Claim You Were at Fault
Not surprisingly, insurance companies love to raise a victim’s partial fault as a reason to deny his claim. However, just because the adjuster uses this insurance tactic does not make it a valid one.
How Can You Protect Your Rights After a Truck Accident in Norfolk?
You should take steps to protect your right to compensation even if you think you may have been partially to blame for your truck crash. Here are important ways to do that:
- Don’t admit fault. You should not make any statements admitting or implying that you were to blame. It is best not to talk to the insurance company at all on your own.
- Collect evidence. Collect evidence at the accident scene that can help you prove that you were an innocent victim—which could very well be true. Take pictures of the damage to the vehicles, crash scene, weather conditions, and anything else that might help show how your crash occurred. You also want to get the contact information for any witnesses who can corroborate the trucker’s fault in your wreck.
- Don’t give a recorded statement. Do not agree to give a recorded statement, which is a recorded question and answer session with the insurance adjuster. You may unintentionally say something that you did not intend that the insurance company can use against you.
- Contact an attorney. Retain an experienced truck accident attorney as soon as possible. He can help you prove you were not at fault, handle all communications with the insurance company, and negotiate your settlement so that you receive what you deserve.
Do you have questions about your options after a truck crash? Call our Norfolk office to schedule a free consultation to get answers and the quality representation that you need.
What should I do if the police don’t come to the scene of my car accident?
Whenever you are involved in a car accident, you should contact the police at the crash scene and obtain a copy of the police report. The police report will contain helpful information, such as a narration of how the collision occurred, who was at fault, and whether any citations were issued. It can be very useful when filing a claim with the insurance company.
However, the police do not always show up at the scene. If you are in this situation, here’s what you can do to document your accident and protect your right to compensation for your injuries from the negligent driver.
Why the Police May Not Show Up at a Crash Scene
There are a number of reasons that the police may not come when you call to report a collision. Here are some common ones:
- If there were no injuries or the injuries were minor, it may not be a priority to the police, especially if there are a lot of other accidents or other incidents they need to respond to at the same time.
- If your accident happened in a parking lot or on private property, the police may have a policy not to respond.
- If weather conditions are bad, the police may not have sufficient personnel to respond to all the crashes being reported and may only go to the scene of the most serious ones.
What to Do If the Police Don’t Show Up After You Call 911
If the police will not come to your accident scene, it is important to remember that this will not prevent you from filing a claim with the negligent driver’s or your own insurance company. You also have options for obtaining a police report. Here’s what you need to do:
- Seek medical care. Your first step should be to obtain immediate medical treatment for anyone injured in the crash.
- Obtain contact information. You should get the contact information for the other driver and his insurance company. This includes the driver’s name, address, telephone number, driver’s license number, and the license plate number for his vehicle. If there were any witnesses to the collision, it is vital to obtain their contact information too.
- Take pictures. Use your cell phone camera to take pictures of the damage to the vehicles, the accident scene, your injuries, and anything else you think might be helpful when you file your claim.
- File your own report. If the police do not come to you, you may be able to go to the police station or on their website and file a police report on your own. They most likely have a form that you can fill out to file the report.
- Retain an attorney. It is always best to retain an experienced car accident lawyer as soon as possible to file your claim for compensation with the insurance company and negotiate your settlement so that you receive all that you deserve.
Were you injured in a car accident in Norfolk? Call our office or fill out our online form to schedule a free consultation to get your questions answered and learn how we can help you.
Can I date after I separate from my spouse?
Dating after you split up with your spouse may not be a good idea in Virginia. Unlike other states, the Commonwealth of Virginia does not recognize legal separations. You are either married or divorced.
How Dating Can Hurt Your Divorce Case
If you enter into a romantic relationship with someone after you stop living with your spouse, you are doing so while you are still married. Here is how this can be used against you in your divorce.
Virginia is an equitable division state, and marital property should be divided fairly in a divorce. However, the judge can consider fault in determining what is fair. Dating while separated is technically committing adultery. This could be used by your spouse to argue she is entitled to more of the marital assets.
Child Custody and Visitation
When deciding custody and visitation issues, the court must consider the best interests of the child, which involves considering many factors relating to a child’s welfare, needs, and care. If you are dating someone new, the judge may consider this as negatively affecting your fitness as a parent and the ability to take care of your children. You may not be granted primary physical custody, and your visitation with your children may be impacted as well.
Adultery is a crime in Virginia. While it is unlikely, you may be charged with a criminal offense if you are involved romantically with someone else during your divorce proceedings.
How to Protect Yourself in Your Divorce
While there is no law that prohibits dating, it may be in your best interests to not date until your divorce is finalized. If you are considering dating, you should contact an experienced family law lawyer for advice on your rights and how to avoid the potential negative consequences before doing so. Call our Norfolk office today to schedule a free consultation with a member of our legal team to get the answers you need to your questions and to learn how we can help you move forward with filing for divorce.
Can someone who was injured while illegally on your property sue you?
Unfortunately, a trespasser on your property who is injured in a premises liability accident may be able to pursue a claim for compensation against you. However, the type of guest a person is matters in Virginia, and your duties to a trespasser are limited.
When Can a Trespasser Sue You for His Injuries?
In Virginia, there are three types of guests: invitees, licensees, and trespassers. Your duties to each are different, and you have the least duty to a trespasser. A trespasser is an individual who enters the property of another without permission or any right to do so. Your duty to him is only to not intentionally or wantonly injure him.
Like with other rules, there are exceptions to this law. A trespasser may be able to sue you in these situations:
- If the trespass is of such a nature and so frequent that you should have known of the trespass and the likely danger to the trespasser, you could face liability.
- Under the “dangerous instrumentality doctrine,” you can be found negligent if you leave on your property an instrument, appliance, or machine that is easily accessible to children and that has hidden, concealed, or latent dangers. These dangerous items must be in an area that you know or should reasonably know that children gather in. If a child is seven-years-old or younger and is injured, he cannot be considered negligent under Virginia law.
What to Do If a Trespasser Is Injured on Your Property in a Premises Liability Accident
If a trespasser is injured while on your property, you should retain an experienced premises liability accident lawyer as soon as possible. He can help you build a strong defense to this person’s claim. In addition to showing that the exceptions discussed above do not apply, an attorney can prove that the trespasser’s comparative fault caused his injuries.
Do you have other questions about your liability to a trespasser? Do you need to file a claim after suffering injuries in a premises liability accident? Call our Norfolk office to schedule a free consultation with a member of our legal team to get your questions answered and learn how we can assist you.
Why could a trucker’s log book be important in proving negligence in causing a truck accident?
Truck drivers are required to follow detailed regulations set forth by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) designed to promote truck safety and prevent crashes. A violation of one of these rules may have caused or contributed to your collision. The trucker’s log book can provide you with the evidence you need to prove the trucker’s negligence.
How the Truck Driver’s Log Book Can Help You Win Your Truck Accident Case
Under FMCSA rules, truck drivers are required to keep a written log book while on their trips. The information in the log book can help you prove that the trucker violated the federal hours of service regulations regarding the number of hours they can work without taking a break and their duties to inspect their truck. Here are types of helpful information contained in the log book:
- Hours worked. The trucker is required to list the hours he worked and took a break during his trip. Under federal regulations, he is only allowed to drive a certain number of hours without taking a break during a 14-hour period and a total number of hours during the past seven days. The log book can show whether the trucker violated these rules and was too fatigued to safely drive when he caused your wreck.
- Miles covered. The log book will contain the total miles traveled in a 24-hour period. This information can be checked against when the log book shows the trucker drove and took breaks. In some cases, the miles covered can show that the trucker really drove longer than he claimed in his log book and, in fact, violated the hours of service rules.
- Off time duty. The trucker must report when he was off duty and had no trucker responsibilities, which can also be useful in establishing whether he took sufficient rest breaks before your crash.
- Inspection reports. The truck driver must inspect his truck daily while on the road. He is required to note these inspections and any needed repairs or truck malfunctions in the log book. This information may show that he drove his truck when it was not safe to do so.
You need the assistance of an experienced truck accident lawyer to obtain the trucker’s log book before it is altered or destroyed by the trucker or trucking company. Your attorney will also have the skill to evaluate the information in the log book and other documents to determine whether the information is accurate. To learn how we will obtain the trucker’s log book and other evidence you need to win your case, call our Norfolk office to schedule your free consultation today.
If I am self-employed, how are my lost wages determined in a car accident case?
If a negligent driver caused your injuries in an auto collision, you are entitled to compensation from him, including reimbursement of your lost wages. This amount can be easier to calculate if you receive a regular paycheck. However, it can be more complicated to determine how much you should receive if you are self-employed.
Who Is Considered Self-Employed?
You are generally considered self-employed if you are a freelancer, independent contractor, consultant, or sole proprietor of a business. You decide your own hours of work and whom you will work for. This is in contrast to an employee who works for an employer who dictates his wages, hours of work, and job duties.
How Are Self-Employment Wages Determined?
If you are self-employed, the first step in knowing how much you should receive is to understand the types of damages you can request. Your wage loss claim may include:
- Lost income
- Loss of your earning capacity if you are disabled or unable to work in your profession
- Lost profits
- Business opportunities you lost
Lost income claims can be more complicated to calculate because income and lost profits tend to vary month to month and year to year for some people who are self-employed. Here are documents that can help you figure this out and prove this portion of your claim:
- Independent contractors. If you are a consultant or independent contractor, you most likely receive a form 1099 at the end of the year from the clients you work for, which can be used to establish your lost income. However, you may need additional documentation of your monthly income if it is seasonal or is not the same every month. Tax returns can also be helpful if your income is different each year.
- Small businesses. You may need monthly profit-and-loss statements, receipts for expenses, and payroll and account records to figure out how much lost income, profits, and other damages you deserve. Your tax returns and schedules may also be helpful, but these other documents can help paint a more accurate picture of your income.
An experienced car accident lawyer can help you identify the documents you need and can calculate the amount of wage loss damages to request in your settlement. If your situation is complicated, he may recommend that you also hire an economic expert.
At Tavss Fletcher, we have decades of experience fighting for the rights of victims of car accidents. We understand the steps you need to take to obtain a fair settlement and are here to handle all aspects of filing your claim for you. Call our Norfolk office to schedule your free consultation today.
Whom should I choose as an executor of my will?
When you are creating a will or updating an existing one, one decision you will need to make is whom to name as the executor of your will. This person performs an important job for you after your death, so it is important to pick the right person.
What Is an Executor?
An executor of your estate is the person you appoint to distribute your assets according to your wishes that are stated in your will and to take care of your other financial responsibilities. An executor is also referred to as the personal representative. Some of the duties this person must perform include:
- Distributing your assets according to the terms of your will
- Paying bills for your estate
- Maintaining property until it is transferred
- Paying real estate taxes, insurance, and mortgage payments on real estate
- Selling real estate and other assets
- Keeping detailed records of assets and expenses of the estate
- Attending court hearings
Tips on Whom to Pick as an Executor of Your Estate
Most people pick family members, such as spouses or adult children to be the personal representative of their estate. This can be a good choice as long as they can perform the required duties and will honor your wishes. Here are some tips on whom to select:
- Pick a responsible person. You should select a person who is responsible, can communicate with other heirs, and can make hard decisions if necessary. While he does not need to be an expert in finances, he should be financially responsible and understand the importance of attention to detail. If you do not have a family member or friend that you feel comfortable appointing, you can select a lawyer or financial institution. Keep in mind that they would charge a fee for their services.
- Select an alternate. It is a good idea to appoint an alternate person who can step in as executor if your first choice dies before you or is unable to assume these duties. If possible, pick someone younger as the alternate.
- Consider the location of your executor. While it is not essential to pick someone who lives near you as your executor, it can be more convenient if you do so. A local person would be better able to maintain your property and have an easier time attending required court hearings than someone who lives out of state.
Do you need help drafting a will? Our experienced estate planning attorneys can create a will and other estate planning documents you need that are tailor-made to your family situation and your concerns. Fill out our convenient online form to schedule a free, no-obligation consultation to learn more about how we can help you.
How can I prove that the truck driver who caused my truck accident was speeding?
Speeding is one of the most common causes of truck collisions and can result in victims suffering catastrophic injuries or death. If you believe that the truck driver who caused your crash was speeding, you cannot assume that the insurance company for the trucker and trucking company will agree with you. You will have to prove this in order to receive the compensation that you deserve for your injuries.
Types of Evidence You Can Use to Establish That the Trucker Was Speeding
You need evidence to prove your case. Here are types of evidence that can help you show that the trucker’s speeding caused your injuries:
- Police report. If the police officer who investigated your crash determined the trucker was speeding, he would include this conclusion in the police report. He may also have ticketed the trucker for speeding, which can be compelling evidence that you are right.
- Black box. The truck’s black box may contain data regarding the truck’s speed at the time of your wreck. You need the assistance of an experienced truck accident lawyer to obtain this data from the trucking company before it is destroyed.
- Witnesses. Witnesses to your crash can corroborate that the truck driver was speeding. If this person is an eyewitness you do not know and who has no stake in your claim, his testimony may be especially compelling.
- Accident reconstruction expert. You may need to hire an accident reconstruction expert who can create a reenactment of how your collision occurred to prove that the trucker’s excessive speed caused it.
- Logbook. Truck drivers are required to keep detailed logbooks on their trips of driving time, rest breaks, and other information under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) rules. Your attorney may be able to use the logbook to help establish that the trucker must have been exceeding the speed limit.
The skilled truck accident lawyers at Tavss Fletcher will conduct a thorough investigation of the cause of your truck accident and collect the evidence you need to prove the trucker’s and trucking company’s negligence. To learn more about how we can assist you, call our Norfolk office to schedule your free confidential consultation today.
How much lost income can I recover after a car accident?
If another driver caused your auto crash, you are entitled to compensation for the wages you lost while you were off work recovering from your injuries, as well as your medical expenses and pain and suffering under Virginia law. Your lost income claim may include much more than just your wages.
Types of Lost Income Damages You Should Receive in Your Car Accident Settlement
You may be entitled to lost wages not only if you work full-time at a regular job, but also if you are a part-time worker, contract worker, seasonal worker, or are self-employed. Here are the types of lost income compensation you may be able to receive:
- Lost Wages. You are entitled to your past and future lost wages as part of your settlement.
- Lost sick and vacation time. You should be reimbursed for any sick time or vacation time you used at your job while you recovered from your injuries. Like lost wages, you can ask for past and future time that is lost.
- Lost perks and opportunities. If you are paid commissions, bonuses, or other perks of your job that you lost due to your car crash, you should receive these amounts in your settlement. You may also be compensated for lost opportunities, such as a promotion or raise at work.
- Lost earning capacity. If your injuries are serious enough, you may have to find a different type of job that pays less or may not be able to work at all. In this situation, you may be entitled to your lost earning capacity. Determining the value of this part of your claim can be extremely complicated, and you need the assistance of an experienced car accident attorney to calculate this.
Documenting Your Lost Wage Claim
You will have the burden of proving the amount of lost income you should receive. Some of the evidence that can help you do this includes:
- Copies of your paystubs
- Copies of your income tax returns
- Letter or testimony by your employer
- Expert witness testimony, such as from an economic expert or physician
If a negligent driver caused your car accident in Norfolk, our skilled and dedicated lawyers can determine all the compensation you should receive in your settlement and fight to ensure that you receive it. To get started, fill out the online form on our website to schedule your free confidential consultation.
Will it help me to attend traffic school before my reckless driving hearing?
It may help you to avoid the harsh consequences you face if you attend traffic school before your court hearing in your reckless driving case. However, whether this will be beneficial will depend on your driving record and why you were charged with reckless driving.
What Is a Driving Improvement Course?
In a driver improvement class, you are taught defensive driving techniques that can help you avoid causing an accident. These courses are approximately eight hours, and they can be taken in a classroom or online. You must take an exam at the end of the class.
The cost of attending traffic school varies, but is generally less than $100. If you decide to enroll in a class before your reckless driving hearing, it is important to pick one on the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicle’s list of approved clinics.
Ways That Attending a Driver Improvement Clinic Can Help You
An experienced traffic ticket lawyer can help you decide whether taking a driver improvement course before your reckless driving hearing is a good idea. Here are ways that it may help you:
- Reduced charges. The charges against you may be reduced or dismissed if you attend traffic school if you have no speeding tickets and this is your first reckless driving charge. In more serious cases, such as if you have a poor driving record, were driving at an excessive speed, or risked injuring someone, taking a driving improvement course can show the judge that you take your actions seriously.
- Reduce your DMV points. Successfully completing a traffic school class will result in a five point reduction in your DMV points. This will improve your DMV record and may help you when you are sentenced in your reckless driving case.
- Lower your insurance rates. Depending on your insurance company, you may be able to reduce your auto insurance costs by attending a driver improvement class.
Have you been charged with reckless driving or another traffic offense in Norfolk? Contact us to schedule a free consultation with a member of our reckless driving legal team to learn about what you can expect in your criminal case and how we can help you mount a strong defense to the charges you face. Call our Norfolk office to schedule your appointment today.
What is the time period to sue in my motorcycle accident case?
The deadline to sue in a motorcycle accident case is also referred to as the statute of limitations and is a very important date to know when you are filing a claim for compensation against a negligent driver. This is more complicated in motorcycle crash cases because there are three time periods that you must understand and follow.
Deadline to File Your Lawsuit in Your Motorcycle Collision Case
You start your lawsuit against the at-fault motorist who caused your accident by filing a civil complaint in court. The time period you have to do this will depend on the type of compensation you are seeking. Here are the statute of limitations rules that you must comply with:
- Personal injuries. The deadline to file your lawsuit for personal injuries is two years from the date of your collision.
- Property damage. You have five years from the date of the accident to sue the other driver for property damage to your motorcycle and any other damaged property.
- Wrongful death. You must file a wrongful death action if a family member died in the motorcycle crash. You have two years from the date of your loved one’s death—not the accident date—to file your lawsuit.
What Happens If You Sue After the Time Period Has Expired?
You waive your right to sue if you miss the deadline to do so under Virginia law. If you file a lawsuit after the statute of limitations has expired, the insurance company for the negligent driver would raise this as a defense and ask that your case be dismissed. The judge most likely would grant the motion and dismiss your lawsuit.
Why You Don’t Want to Wait to Retain an Attorney Following a Motorcycle Crash
Even if you have plenty of time before the time period to sue expires, one of your first steps should be to retain an experienced motorcycle accident lawyer. If you wait to hire him, you make it more difficult for him to thoroughly investigate the cause of your crash. For example, witnesses may have disappeared or their memories could have faded. In addition, you may make mistakes that hurt your case if you do not have an attorney advising you right away.
At Tavss Fletcher, our skilled legal team has decades of experience helping victims of motorcycle accidents in Norfolk. We are committed to fighting so that you are fully compensated for your injuries. Call our office to schedule a free consultation today.
The insurance company is offering me a quick settlement of my car accident claim. Should I take it?
You may be surprised at how quickly the negligent driver’s insurance company contacts you after your car accident—maybe even before you leave the hospital. If the insurance adjuster seems concerned about your health and offers you a quick settlement, you may be tempted to accept it. However, this is rarely in your best interests.
Three Reasons Not to Accept a Quick Settlement Offer From the Insurance Company
While some insurance companies will try to treat accident victims fairly, many insurance adjusters offer quick settlements to save money for the insurance company. Here are the reasons why you should not accept it:
#1: You Don’t Know the Seriousness of Your Injuries
You are entitled to be compensated for your past and future medical expenses, lost wages, and pain and suffering in your settlement. Right after your car accident, it is impossible to know how serious your injuries are, the treatments you will need, and your long-term prognosis. It is best to wait until you have recovered fully, or as much as possible, to settle your claim so that all your future damages are included in your settlement.
#2: The Settlement Offer May Be Too Low
When an insurance company offers you a fast settlement, they are most likely offering you less than you deserve and are hoping that you will just accept it without first consulting with an experienced car accident attorney. However, it is never a good idea to agree to a settlement with the insurance company without first consulting with a lawyer to ensure that you receive all that you are entitled to.
#3: Settlements Are Final
Once you agree to settle your claim with the insurance company, your settlement is final. If you later discover that your injuries are more serious than you thought or that you suffered permanent disabilities that prevent you from returning to work, you cannot reopen your settlement and ask for more money.
If you or a loved one were injured in a car accident, resist the temptation to try to settle your claim on your own or to accept the insurance company’s first offer without consulting with a lawyer. Our skilled car accident legal team is here to protect your interests and will fight to ensure that you receive the maximum amount of compensation you deserve for your injuries. Call our Norfolk office to schedule your free consultation today.
How do I change my name after a divorce?
In Virginia, you can change your name, both in your divorce proceedings and afterward, to your maiden or another name that you used prior to your marriage. You do not need to get your spouse’s consent to change your name.
Changing Your Name in Your Divorce
As part of your divorce proceedings, you can request that your name be changed. You must request this in your initial divorce pleadings or orally at your final hearing on your judgement of divorce. The judge can change your name back to a name you used prior to your marriage.
How to Change Your Name After Your Divorce Is Finalized
If you decide to change your name after your divorce has been completed, you can still do this without your ex-spouse’s permission. You must have lived in Virginia for six months to qualify. You would need to follow these steps:
- Complete Virginia’s “Application for Name Change” form.
- Have your signature on the form notarized.
- Gather the required documents that support your application. This includes your marriage certificate, birth certificate, and divorce judgment.
- File your application and supporting documents in the Virginia Circuit Court near where you live. You will also have to pay a filing fee.
- The court may grant your application automatically if the judge is satisfied that you met the requirements for a name change. However, you could be required to attend a hearing before your application is approved.
What to Do After your Name Change Is Completed
Once your name has legally been changed, you can begin using it. You will also need to notify others of your new name. Some parties that you should be sure to inform include:
- Department of Motor Vehicles
- Social Security Administration
- Your bank
- Your retirement and other investment accounts
- Your credit card company
- Your health, auto, and home insurance companies
- Your utility companies, such as electric, phone, water, and cable
Do you have questions about changing your name or other aspects of your divorce? Call our Norfolk office to schedule a free consultation with a member of our family law legal team.
How do I get access to video footage that shows my slip and fall accident?
Many grocery stores, malls, restaurants, parking lots, and other properties use surveillance cameras. Security camera footage can be strong evidence that can help you prove the owner’s negligence in causing your slip and fall or other premises liability accident. It can also assist you in refuting arguments by the insurance company that you were at fault in causing your injuries. However, you need to act quickly to collect this important evidence.
How to Get Surveillance Video Footage
Unfortunately, the business or property owner most likely will not voluntarily give you the surveillance tape if you ask for it, especially if they know that you were injured in an accident. Here is what you need to do to get it:
- Retain an attorney. You should hire an experienced premises liability attorney as soon as possible after your accident. He can send the negligent owner a spoliation letter advising them of your claim and demanding a copy of the video footage. He will also advise them not to destroy the video in his letter.
- File a lawsuit. Unfortunately, some managers and property owners will ignore a spoliation letter and refuse to turn over the footage or destroy it. In this situation, you would need to file a lawsuit quickly and ask the court to issue a subpoena ordering the negligent party to provide you with the surveillance footage. If it has been destroyed, the owner could face harsh consequences, such as a finding that they were negligent in causing your accident.
How Long Is Surveillance Footage Kept?
There is no law dictating how long a business or property owner must keep video footage. Many security cameras are digital and run on a loop, which means that old footage is recorded over after a period of time. The re-recording can occur daily or every few days or weeks depending on the system used.
Because of this, you should report your accident right after it occurs to put the owner on notice of your accident and claim. You also need to retain a lawyer as soon as possible to take steps to preserve this evidence on your behalf.
The experienced premises liability lawyers at Tavss Fletcher understand the importance of conducting a thorough investigation and preserving evidence, such as surveillance footage. To learn about how we can assist you, call our Norfolk office to schedule your free consultation today.
Can the insurance company for the trucking company spy on me if I file a claim for compensation following a truck accident?
When you must file a claim for compensation for your injuries in a truck accident, you expect the insurance company for the negligent trucker and trucking company to treat you fairly, settle your claim promptly, and pay you what you deserve in your settlement. Unfortunately, some insurance companies will do the opposite and try to deny or reduce your claim. One of the tactics they may employ to fight your claim is to spy on you.
Reasons Insurance Companies Engage in Surveillance
The insurance company may engage in surveillance on their own or could hire a private investigator to do this for them. Reasons that they may have you watched include:
- They want to verify the seriousness of your injuries.
- They want to catch you doing an activity that you should not be able to do given your injuries.
- They want to find statements that you have made that are inconsistent with what you told them about the accident. They are also looking for statements you made admitting fault in causing the accident or that show that your injuries are less serious than you claim.
Types of Surveillance Used by Insurance Companies
The insurance company could engage in surveillance at any time while your claim is being resolved. Times when it may be more likely is right before your deposition or jury trial or when you go to doctor appointments. However, you should always be prepared for the company to spy on you.
There are a number of ways that the insurance company may surveil you. Here are some common ways:
- Videotape and photographs. The insurance company can hire a private investigator to follow you around in public places and photograph or videotape you. The investigator may use a surveillance team and different vehicles to try to hide the fact that they are spying on you.
- Social media sites. The insurance adjuster could conduct a search of your social media sites, such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, at various times while your claim is being resolved. He may be looking for photographs, your location, and information you share with friends and family to use against you when deciding your claim.
- Internet. The insurance company may do a general Internet search to find articles about you, your blog or website, and comments that you make on other individual’s blogs or websites that weakens your claim.
- Background check. The insurance adjuster, their attorney, or their private investigator may conduct a thorough background check to try to find damaging information about you. This can include where you live, your vehicles, property you own, your criminal record, and driving record and offenses.
What Should You Do If You Suspect That the Insurance Company Is Spying on You?
If you believe that the insurance company for the negligent trucker and trucking company is surveilling you, you should watch what you say, what you do, and where you go. You should also not post anything about your accident or your injuries to any social media sites while your claim is pending. Be careful about sharing anything about yourself that could be misconstrued.
If you have retained an experienced truck accident attorney, you should discuss your concerns with him and obtain advice on what you can do to protect yourself. If you have not hired a lawyer, you should do so immediately. To learn how we can help you, call our Norfolk office today to take advantage of our free, no-obligation consultation.
Do I need to call the police after a car accident even if I don’t think anyone was injured?
In almost every auto crash, it is best to call the police at the scene of the accident. The only time when you can consider not taking this important step is if your collision was a minor fender bender where no one suffered any injuries and your vehicle needs no repairs. In any other situation, you should call 911 to protect your legal rights down the road.
When Does Virginia Law Require You to Stop and Call the Police After a Crash?
Under Virginia law, motorists have certain duties when involved in an auto wreck if it resulted in an injury or death or damage to a vehicle or other property. These obligations include:
- Stopping immediately as close to the collision scene without blocking traffic
- Providing reasonable medical care to anyone injured in the accident
- Reporting the crash to the State Police or the local law enforcement agency
- Exchanging contact information, such as names, addresses, driver’s licenses number, and registration number with the other motorist involved in the wreck
Three Reasons to Call the Police Even If You Did Not Suffer Injuries
There are a number of ways that contacting the police can be useful if you later discover that you need to file a claim with the negligent driver’s or your insurance company. Here is why it is best to call 911:
You May Suffer Hidden Injuries or Discover More Damage to Your Vehicle
The symptoms of some injuries, such as traumatic brain injury, spinal injuries, back injuries, and internal organ damage, may not become apparent for days or longer after your collision. In addition, you may plan not to file a claim for the repair costs to your vehicle only to discover that the bill will be much higher than you thought. If either of these situations arises, you will have a stronger claim if you call 911 right after your crash.
You Need the Police Report If You File an Insurance Claim
If you later decide to file a claim with your insurance company or the negligent driver’s insurance company, the claims adjuster will want a copy of the police report to review as part of the investigation of your claim. While you still can recover compensation for your injuries and property damage without it, you avoid potential disputes that can weaken your case by contacting law enforcement at the accident scene.
You Preserve Important Evidence
When you call the police, they will investigate the accident scene and write a police report. This can provide you with crucial evidence you can use to prove the other driver’s negligence in causing your accident, such as:
- Other motorist’s statement to the police
- Witness contact information and statements
- Narration of how the collision occurred
- Officer’s conclusions as to who caused the accident
- Any traffic citations issued
- Diagrams of the accident scene
- Pictures of the scene, damage to the vehicles, and more
Do you or a family member need to file a claim for compensation following an auto collision? The experienced car accident attorneys at Tavss Fletcher are here to file your claim, collect the evidence you need, and negotiate your settlement so that you receive the compensation that you are entitled to for your injuries. Call our Norfolk office today to schedule a free consultation to get started.
How soon after my truck accident should I see a doctor?
You should be examined by a physician soon after your truck collision. You need to do this even if you believe that you sustained no or minor injuries. There are three very important reasons why this is so important.
Reason #1: You Protect Your Health
If you suffered obvious injuries, you hopefully know to seek immediate medical care. However, you may not realize that you suffered injuries for days or longer after your accident.
Adrenaline can mask the symptoms of injuries. In addition, the symptoms of some injuries, such as spinal injuries, internal injuries, and traumatic brain injuries, can take days, weeks, or longer to develop. You protect your health and avoid a possible medical emergency by being examined by a doctor right away.
Reason #2: You Document Your Injuries
When you are examined by your doctor or in the emergency room, medical records will be created. You can use them to document that you were injured in your truck accident. In addition, if you seek prompt medical care, it can be easier for you to prove the connection between your crash and your injuries.
Reason #3: You Avoid Disputes With the Insurance Company
One of the biggest mistakes that truck accident victims make is to delay seeking medical care. The insurance company for the trucker and trucking company may use this fact to deny or reduce your claim. Here are two common arguments the insurance adjuster could make:
- Your injuries were caused by another incident and not the truck accident.
- Your injuries are really not that serious or you would have been treated by a doctor sooner.
How Soon Is Soon Enough to Seek Medical Care?
If you did not suffer apparent injuries that require immediate care, you should be seen by a physician within a reasonable amount of time after your crash. Insurance companies often consider 72 hours to be reasonable. Avoid jeopardizing your health or your claim for compensation by seeing a doctor no later than 72 hours after your collision if at all possible.
Pursing a claim for compensation following a truck accident is complicated. Our experienced truck accident attorneys will aggressively fight for the compensation that you deserve from the negligent trucker and trucking company. Call our office today to schedule a free case evaluation to learn more about your legal rights.